McLouth 6-0 entering district play
BULLDOGS DISTRICT SLATE
McLouth High’s football team has its first of three district games this week.
Oct. 14 — Pleasant Ridge (5-1)
Oct. 21 — Rossville (6-0)
Oct. 27 — at Silver Lake (5-1)
Throughout the McLouth High football team’s dominating start to the season, the Bulldogs’ running game has been complimented by enough passing to keep opposing defenses honest.
In its latest blowout victory, MHS proved its passing game could burn an opposing team that got too greedy in trying to stop the run.
Junior quarterback Marc Walbridge hooked up with three different receivers for touchdown passes of 60-plus yards Friday at Horton as McLouth rolled to a 47-6 road win and remained unbeaten.
Bulldogs senior running back Shawn Dailey was off to a typical start, rushing for two first-quarter touchdowns, when the HHS defense, McLouth coach Chris Stewart said, began focusing on stopping the road team’s outside runs.
That’s when the Bulldogs (6-0) started looking to the air for some quick-hitters to prove they didn’t have a one-dimensional attack. The result was two long passing scores in the second quarter, as Walbridge connected with senior Cameron Humerickhouse for a 61-yard TD and later found senior Cody McHenry for an 86-yard touchdown.
“We wanted to see what they (MHS receivers) could do and guys made good plays,” Stewart said, noting McHenry made a difficult catch and then was able to weave in and out between Horton defenders en route to the end zone.
McLouth had a healthy 33-6 advantage in the fourth quarter when Walbridge targeted another receiver for a big play and hit sophomore Nick McAferty for a 67-yard passing TD. Stewart said Walbridge, at the line of scrimmage, had wisely checked out of the called play and went McAferty’s direction instead after seeing the Horton defense set up. The sophomore receiver jumped up to make the snag and was able to run free when the HHS defensive back covering him failed in an interception attempt.
By the end of the night, Walbridge had only thrown six passes but had completed four of them for 209 yards and three touchdowns.
“We just had a pretty balanced attack and had some pretty good passing with Marc and had some guys make some good catches,” Stewart said.
Netting huge yards through the air forced Horton to respect the pass and Stewart said MHS was able to maintain ground control, too, as Dailey ran for 112 yards and three touchdowns and Walbridge rushed six times for 66 yards and a score.
“It was a good, physical game and the kids responded well,” the coach said.
The victory was McLouth’s sixth straight by at least 35 points, but the level of competition is about to go up, Stewart said, as the team embarks on its three-week district schedule, which begins at 7 p.m. Friday at Stan Braksick Stadium against Pleasant Ridge.
Stewart said PRHS would be the Bulldogs’ biggest challenge to date.
“They’ve got a really good quarterback and a couple good running backs that are pretty fast,” he said.
Rams QB Dalton Warden has thrown for 488 yards, five touchdowns and five interceptions in his team’s 5-1 start, and has rushed for 390 yards and four touchdowns. Pleasant Ridge’s primary running back, Cody Heim, meanwhile, has accounted for 672 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. Plus, Blake Graham and Tim Roberts have combined for more than 550 yards on the ground and six rushing scores this season.
Said Stewart: “The defense is gonna be key this week, just stopping their offense.”
The fourth-year MHS coach said PRHS runs a lot of motion plays with ball fakes, making it hard to pinpoint the correct ball carrier. He said it would be up to the Bulldogs to not bite on those fakes.
“We can’t chase people around that don’t have the ball,” Stewart said.
So far this season, no MHS opponent has scored more than 13 points and McLouth has put up nearly 10 times as many points as its foes, outscoring them 290-31. However, those teams have a combined record of 10-27, while the Bulldogs’ three district opponents (PRHS, Rossville and Silver Lake) enter this week with a combined 16 wins and just two losses.
Stewart said it is imperative for MHS to start district play with a victory if it wants to reach its goal of a berth in the playoffs.
“If we can do that,” the coach said of beating Pleasant Ridge, “we’re in a good position to continue working hard and winning.”
McLouth 47, Horton 6
Score by quarters
MHS 13 13 7 14 — 47
HHS 0 0 0 6 — 6
M — Shawn Dailey 10 run. John Berry kick.
M — Dailey 23 run. Kick failed.
M — Cameron Humerickhouse 61 pass from Marc Walbridge. Conversion failed.
M — Cody McHenry 86 pass from Walbridge. Berry kick.
H — Jordan Mathias 5 run. Conversion failed.
M — Nick McAferty 67 pass from Walbridge. Berry kick.
M — Dailey 16 run. Berry kick.